This paper presents an academic approach to defining a responsive system concept for reconnaissance. The author outlines a systems approach used to measure the timeliness of the tactical reconnaissance system structure common in 1986. A new systems approach exercises the structure necessary to suggest better ways for successful acquisition of new reconnaissance systems. The method blends the utility of the earlier operational system approach with the new acquisition strategy for future reconnaissance concepts.
A `pushbroom' sensor is an airborne imaging system which takes a series of one dimensional samples orthogonal to the aircraft line of flight with the second dimension constructed by the forward motion of the platform. With the advent of these highly sophisticated pushbroom reconnaissance sensors, system testing organizations are required to perform a detailed assessment of sensor performance. While in the past, systems have traditionally been tested using static or scrolling stimulation, such techniques have proven to yield only limited data. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland has developed a ground test capability which supplies highly diverse and repeatable data and which provides a solid statistical base for the determination of system resolution. Working closely with the 3246 TW/DOR, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, the exploitable nature of these data has been verified. This paper presents the data as actually taken from ground tests of a pushbroom sensor performed at Eglin Air Force Base and illustrates the methods and techniques employed to analyze and evaluate the resulting imagery.
The ATARS RMS is an advanced digital image formatting and computing unit. It links the ATARS EO and IR sensors, digital tape recorders and datalink together into a coherent tactical reconnaissance sensor suite. Image management, storage and display functions ensure effective reconnaissance data handling. Comprehensive Operational Flight Program processing facilities provide automatic mission management and effective integration of ATARS with the flight crew, host aircraft, and ground station.
The ATARS RMS is an advanced digital image formatting and computing unit. It links the ATARS EO and IR sensors, digital tape recorders and datalink together into a coherent tactical reconnaissance sensor suite. Image management, storage and display functions ensure effective reconnaissance data handling. Comprehensive Operational Flight Program processing facilities provide automatic mission management and effective integration of ATARS with the flight crew, host aircraft, and ground station. data. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland has developed a ground test capability which supplies highly diverse and repeatable data and which provides a solid statistical base for the determination of system resolution. Working closely with the 3246 TW/DOR, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, the exploitable nature of these data has been verified. This paper presents the data as actually taken from ground tests of a pushbroom sensor performed at Eglin Air Force Base and illustrates the methods and techniques employed to analyze and evaluate the resulting imagery. recorded by a moving microscope and by a ccd camera with 1-ms charging time interval. The exact distance between the microscope positions at the time of charging the ccd pixels is deduced from the interference and video synchronization signals. It is expected that a total uncertainty of about 100 nm for a 1000-mm scale will be reached. recorder operates in severe airborne environments. Obviously, this same recorder is also suitable for the airborne acquisition of data for other applications.
The laser has been used for many years for range or distance measurement. Laser technology has produced very accurate measurements in many applications including precise machine processing and quality control functions. The addition of optics to broaden the laser beam for illumination, a video camera for area imaging, an intensifier for gating, and control electronics for timing forms the basic laser illuminated range gated video system. This unique technology can be exploited for unique imaging solutions. This paper explores the intensified gated CCD video camera as applied to the technology of laser illuminated range gated video.
The V-305 High-Bandwidth Analog Airborne Recorder/Reproducer has been specifically developed to satisfy the airborne image recording requirements for various applications including high-resolution airborne reconnaissance, search and rescue operations, and surveillance. In addition, the V-305 has the flexibility to record many other types of signals such as those encountered in E-W, ELINT, and radar applications. As part of this new product's ongoing development and evaluation, NACOUS has recently performed airborne recording of infrared imagery from an AN/AAD-5 RC Infrared Linescanner. This paper describes the V-305 and the in-flight image recording results.
The Laptop Imagery Transmission System (LITE) integrates various imaging sensors, both analog and digital. Analog imaging sensors include still video and 8 mm video. Digital imaging sensors include the Kodak Digital Camera System. These sensors (with imagery of various sizes up to 1024 X 1024 pixels) provide significant color imagery in 24-bit color or 8-bit black and white.
MIL-STD-2179 is based on D-1 technology which has been proven in the commercial TV industry for over ten years. Application of this technology, in a harsh military environment, has presented technical challenges not addressed in commercial designs. This paper addresses those special design obstacles as well as enhancements desirable for scientific data manipulation compared to fixed rate benign commercial applications.
Tactical aerial reconnaissance is entering an era of real-time sensor exploitation and intelligence reporting. The selection of the ground station site for optimum utilization of intelligence reporting and softcopy image dissemination will have a significant impact on the reception of sensor and aircraft signals. Precise Target Analysis (PTA) is a personal-computer-based program to perform analytical site selection based upon numerous critical factors. These factors include line-of-sight obstruction by buildings, tree lines, and terrain, as well as operational planning considerations.
In an attempt to strike a balance between increases in multi-role tactical air reconnaissance mission tasking and simultaneous decreases in defense spending, many users are evaluating upgrades to existing sensors and reconnaissance systems. At the heart of any cost-effective reconnaissance system upgrade must be a flexible reconnaissance management system, capable of filling multiple rolls in today's film backed reconnaissance system, while enabling successful transition to the Electro-Optical (EO) system of tomorrow. As a case in point this paper describes enhanced effectiveness and growth potential that Fairchild's AN/ASQ-197 Sensor Control-Data Display Set (SC-DDS) can provide.
Loral Defense Systems-Arizona, holder of the original patent for the invention of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), developed SAR to meet the military's need for an all-weather, day/night sensor that could produce high quality reconnaissance imagery in adverse weather and restricted visibility conditions. These features, and the ability to image large areas with fine resolution in a relatively short period of time make this sensor useful for many military applications. To date, however, SARs for military use have been hampered by the fact that they've been large, complex, and expensive. Additionally, they have been mounted on special purpose, single mission aircraft which are costly to operate. That situation has changed. A small, modular SAR, called Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar (MSAR) developed by Loral can be mounted with relative ease on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or on multi-mission aircraft such as the F-16, F/A-18, or on the F-14.
When using various 70 mm - 35 mm photographic cameras, digital, and analogue sensors in light aircraft, consistent vertical perspective manipulations are required. This is accomplished by a Robotic Imaging Station (RIS) (sometimes called `platform' in this paper) controlled manually or by a laptop computer, with aircraft navigation instrument interface capabilities. The prototype was built to maintain nodal point perspective as true to vertical as possible, on-line adjustment countering aircraft yaw, image motion compensation and vibration damping for high quality imaging. The platform is portable and varied cameras/sensors can easily be installed in a plug and play fashion.
A camera system for omnidirectional image viewing applications that provides pan, tilt, zoom, and rotational orientation within a hemispherical field-of-view utilizing no moving parts has been developed. The imaging device is based on the effect that the image from a fisheye lens, which produces a circular image of an entire hemispherical field-of-view, can be mathematically corrected using high speed electronic circuitry. More specifically, an incoming fisheye image from an image acquisition source is captured in memory of the device, a transformation is performed for the viewing region-of-interest and viewing direction, and a corrected image is output as a video image signal for viewing, recording, or analysis. As a result, this device can accomplish the functions of pan, tilt, rotation, and zoom throughout a hemispherical field-of-view without the need for any mechanical mechanisms. A programmable transformation processor provides flexible control over viewing situations. Multiple images, each with different image magnifications and pan-tilt-rotate parameters, can be obtained from a single camera. The image transformation device can provide corrected images at frame rates compatible with RS-170 standard video equipment. The device can be used for may applications where a conventional mechanical pan-and-tilt orientation mechanism might be considered including inspection, monitoring, surveillance, and target acquisition. Omniview is ideal for multiple target acquisition and image stabilization in military applications due to its multiple image handling and fast response capabilities.
As anticipated costs associated with development and integration of revolutionary reconnaissance assets such as ATARS continues to escalate, users in the recce community are evaluating alternate approaches; combining real time acquisition and visualization of recce imagery while preserving the enhanced resolution of film and capitalizing on the economic advantages of reusing existing systems. The approach described in this paper illustrates an upgrade path for conversion of the Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) to partial and full Electro Optic (EO) capability, providing both `quick look' and `long look' capabilities at a fraction of the cost for competing systems.
During the early 1980s, Itek Optical systems and the United States Air Force developed and published an Image Interpretability Rating Scale based on a set of image interpretability criteria specific to military operations. There appears to be a similar need for a commonly understood and used scale to describe the relative resolution of aerial photographs in fields of environmental concern. Using our extensive backgrounds in image acquisition and use and in assessing problems common to natural resource managers, we set out to develop an image rating scale. Our objective was to more clearly relate image characteristics (such as scale, spatial resolution, spectral resolution, and format) to specific examples of image interpretation tasks which are performed by environmental scientists. To do this, we created rating scale categories and established the minimum resolution requirements in terms of ground resolved distance for a variety of typical environmental features. We found that our needs for image quality closely parallel needs in military intelligence. This information will provide designers of image acquisition systems specific criteria to consider in addition to more abstract resolution measures such as lines per millimeter. We suggest that this IIRS will compliment the earlier Itek scale and like it, will become a standard for discussions of image quality and resolution.
Timely reconnaissance information has always been a highly valued commodity. In early conflicts, higher elevations were sought to overlook and observe the battlefield. Technology has progressed to provide the latest in modern airborne reconnaissance, wherein sensor imagery is recorded and transmitted in mid-flight to an earth surface station for immediate exploitation. The benefits of designing reconnaissance systems for maximum interoperability are obvious. The types of interoperability of concern are: interoperability between airborne collection and surface exploitation systems, interoperability between surface systems, and interoperability among the functional modules of the surface systems. The goal is to provide means for interoperability among the digital electronic imagery reconnaissance assets of the United States and its allies.
A concept for an optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) is currently in development using a platform that is a derivative of an all-composite, long endurance manned aircraft. This paper describes the challenges and basic advantages of an OPV when compared to the exclusively unmanned operation of conventional Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The paper focuses on system reliability and Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) issues that must be resolved to ensure aircraft recoverability and safety-of-flight when flown in air-traffic controlled airspace, including full autonomous landing and takeoff. A practical approach using a unique arrangement of redundant off-the-shelf systems incorporating artificial intelligence and utilizing Global Positioning, Microwave Landing, and Joint Tactical Information Data Systems is described. OPV applications to a wide-range of payloads and operational missions are described, including electro-optical/radar imaging, environmental, SIGINT, and communication systems. In addition, the platform is seen as the forerunner to an in-flight refuelable UAV, that would enable world-wide non-stop deployments and extended on-station times.
Diode laser imaging is one of the advanced sensors. It is best suited for the aerospace flight environment. We have developed a 40K X 8 bit pixels/sec diode laser imaging system, and this system was authenticated by specialists last year. This paper describes several important problems for intensity imaging which include improving laser power utilization ratio and receiving sensitivity in a laser imaging system. Improvement SNR of an imaging system is a criterion of analysis and comparison. Waveform design of both the maximum power limited and average power invariant are analyzed separately. In order to understand avalanche gain contribution to receiver SNR, performance comparison of receiving is evaluated for detection type and operation state. The comparison includes intensity modulated (IM)/coherent detection (CD) and IM/Direct detection (DD) for different avalanche gain values and different photodetector load resistance values. According to the relations between receivable return power and SNR, a series of curves are calculated by computer. These curves clearly show the best detecting type for various receiver power levels. These results of analyses provide the theoretical basis of transmitter and high sensitivity receiver design. These analyses also show that in intensity imaging system correct waveform selection can make 4 dB improvement on SNR and reasonable receive trade-off design can make about 30 dB improvement on SNR.
High speed, high resolution CCD image sensors are suitable for airborne reconnaissance applications, but have mainly consisted of linear and TDI arrays. To date large format area arrays have been limited to staring applications, characterized by long integration times and slow readout rates. The authors have developed a 2048 (H) by 2048 (V) pixel, fast framing CCD array for aerial reconnaissance. The array incorporates high speed design features to provide operation in excess of 10 frames per second. Process modifications have been used in the design of a high signal capacity photoelement. A 12 micron square pixel pitch results in a relatively small focal plane diagonal of 34 millimeters. In this paper, we present the design and detailed performance evaluation of the array.